One important aspect of succeeding in college is being able to see your time. What does it mean to see your time? Seeing your time involves:
- Estimating how much time you have,
- Figuring out how to allocate your time to ensure you get your tasks done,
- Staying within the deadlines set by your professor,
- Understanding the importance of time.
Don’t be caught short. A student who has difficulty with time management shows up to class late, leaves projects and papers until the night before they are due, hands in assignments late, and/or focuses on one assignment while ignoring other assignments.
Successful students, who have made time work in their favor, use a series of systems to keep track of the passage of time.
An important first step to time management is seeing your blocks of time. This step will help you create a visual representation of your time, so that you can allocate your resources most efficiently and effectively. Taking an hourly weekly calendar and blocking off class time, work schedules, and extracurricular commitments allows you to see where you have time to study, work on homework or tackle a step in a long term project or paper.
Once you can see your time, the next step is to create a planning time each day. By spending a few minutes each day to plan out how and when you will accomplish certain tasks helps you; ensure assignments are completed on time, you know where you currently are in relation to your deadlines, and allows you to see where certain tasks are going to fit within the constraints of your day. Taking a pause in your day to plan, also allows you to walk through your day in your mind, creating a mental movie of how your day will play out. Your planning time needs to include your monthly and weekly calendars, as well as a daily to-do list.
Monthly Calendar – a monthly calendar helps students see their assignments across a month. Students who use a monthly calendar don’t end up in the predicament, “Oh, that 15 page paper is due next week?!” Being able to see where you are in the month helps you know where and how to allocate your time on certain projects. At the beginning of each semester, take each syllabus and record all assignment deadlines on your monthly calendar.
A monthly calendar should include:
- Work schedule
- Long term projects
- Extracurricular activities
- Sports schedule
- Any other items that will require larger chunks of time.
A Week at a Glance – a planner or week at a glance is for the day to day tasks you need to accomplish. Don’t forget to designate days to accomplish laundry, your roommate will appreciate it.
To-Do Lists – a to-do list is a specific break down of what needs to be accomplished that day. Making sure there are specific blocks of time for homework, studying, and projects will help to ensure nothing is overlooked. A to-do list can be done on your week at a glance calendar or on a separate piece of paper or sticky note.
The key to keeping on top of your time is to set specific times to study, work on projects and complete homework assignments. Thinking about your day as blocks of time will help you fit all of your responsibilities in. Setting an intention, like beginning your biology lab at 2:00PM, increases the likelihood that the assignment will get done.
As Antoine De Saint-Exupery says, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” Creating time management systems that work for you is well worth your time and effort. You will be glad you did.
Kristine Shiverick, M.Ed., ACG, CACP is a professionally trained ADHD and Executive Function Coach. Kristine received her B.A. in Severe Special Needs Education and her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. She received her basic, advanced, and family ADHD coach training through the ADD Coach Academy. Kristine provides coaching to help students, adults and families impacted by ADHD learn about the unique wiring of the ADHD brain, discover effective strategies, minimize the challenges of ADHD, and live the life they want to live. Kristine believes in taking a strength-based approach to help her clients grow in all areas of their lives. Kristine runs an ADHD parent support group in her local community, and co-facilitated a virtual college support group for ADDA.